Cover crops play a significant role in the farmer’s field. Typically, cover crops are planted between harvests or for winter protection. They are considered temporary plants that provide many benefits for the cash crop and the soil and usually are not intended to be harvested as a crop. However, some cover crops, such as wheat, barley and oats can also be harvested and sold.
Benefits of planting cover crops
Considerations in choosing a cover crop
There are several considerations to keep in mind when choosing a cover crop. One important factor is the climate and soil conditions of the area where the cover crop will be grown. Some cover crops may thrive in certain climates or soil types, while others may struggle or be less effective. It is important to choose a cover crop that is well-suited to the local conditions to ensure its success.
Another consideration is the intended purpose of the cover crop. Some cover crops may be primarily used for erosion control, while others may be selected for their ability to fix nitrogen or add organic matter to the soil. It is important to choose a cover crop that will meet the specific needs of the farming operation.
In addition, the timing of cover crop planting and incorporation should be taken into account. Some cover crop species may be more suitable for planting in the fall, while others may be better suited for spring planting. It is important to choose a cover crop that will fit into the existing crop rotation schedule and not interfere with the growth and harvest of main crops.
Types of cover crops
Cover crops include a diverse array of species and plant types, and they can be used at various times of the year.
Cool-season or Winter/Autumn cover crops are best planted in the fall on crop fields, or overseeded into dormant warm-season perennial grass pastures. Warm-season cover crops, however, are usually planted in the spring.
- Browntop Millet and Foxtail Millet
- Pearl Millet
- Sorghum Species
- Sunn Hemp
Secondary Warm-Season crops
Other cover crop species may perform well in the warmer seasons. This will depend on the environment and your goals for the cover crop. The secondary choices include grazing corn, sweet clover, oats, chicory and squash.
- Crimson Clover
- Winter Pea
Secondary Cool-Season Species
As with the secondary warm-season species, other cool-season species may perform well in the cool season. Again, they depend on the environment and your goals for the cover crop. Secondary choices include several different clovers (rose and white, arrowleaf and persian), ryegrass, flax, chicory, and winter lentils
For more information or assistance on choosing the right cover crop for your farm, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team at Cropaia today.